Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Exciting Life Of Being A Woman

I’m pleased to be telling you about a recently published book by independent Bristol publisher Hammer/On called The Exciting Life Of Being A Woman: A Handbook For Women And Girls.

Bidisha has endorsed the book, saying: “The Exciting Life of Being a Woman is part of an urgent and wholly necessary movement which reflects millions of women's hopes, fears, jokes, passions, questions, activism and energy in a way which is accessible, enjoyable, stylish and intelligent.”

And feminist legend Susie Orbach says: “This book is full of dos and great ideas to build young women's confidence, and challenge individually and together the pressures that too often undermine them.”

With praise from those two strong female personalities, The Exciting Life of Being a Woman has a lot to live up to. But that’s fine, because it does.

The book is the culmination of a lot of hard work from an enormous collective of women known as the Feminist Webs, as well as Bristolian force-to-be-reckoned-with Debi Withers. This is a cross-generational youth project based in the North West of England, that draws on history, practices and activities to help women of all ages feel empowered to be the people that deserve to be.

You can treat it as a workbook, a discussion kick-starter, an educational resource, a fact-finding mission, a consciousness-raising tool… or anything else. The Exciting Life of Being a Woman is illustrated with ‘spirit women’: women who’ve gone before us to achieve amazingly good things, from suffragette Annie Kenney, to scientist Marie Curie, and musician Yoko Ono (as well as a lot of others). These spirit women help to inspire and inform readers about the potential within themselves.

But that’s not all. The chapters tackle issues including resilience (how to be a strong person), recognising the absence of women in most of history (and pointing out the glaring holes in the history books as a result), inciting readers to peaceful activism (joining marches, setting up discussion groups etc), and so on. In short, The Exciting Life of Being a Woman is a really positive and necessary tool for young women today. The fact it’s largely illustrated with hand-drawn pictures only serves to demonstrate the love and enthusiasm the women at Feminist Net have for their foremothers and their fight for women’s rights.

The Exciting Life of Being a Woman is the feminist survival manual that I wish had existed when I was a frustrated 15-year-old girl, thinking that I was the only one thinking thoughts that I later realised were feminist ones. It would have made me feel a lot less alone. But the good thing is that this good exists now, and for future generations of young women.

You can buy a copy for £10 (plus £2.50 p&p) direct from Hammer/On by clicking here.

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